Native craft-makers gathered at the Onondaga Nation Arena over the weekend to sell their work and raise money for the Onondaga Nation Education Group. The effort raises funds to support Native Students attending college in the Syracuse area, and it attracted vendors from across New York State for the event.
Organizer Freida Jacques says that buyers at the fair could rest assured that their purchases are “authentic” and that the proceeds directly benefit the artists.
“People do their beading at home or they’ll sew or whatever. Most of it’s hand made stuff. We don’t allow the made from China items. So we try to have our own artistry and our own artwork.”
The event hosted musical acts, and it also provided a selection of Native foods. But perhaps most importantly, the fair served as an opportunity for Native craft-makers to get together and share parts of their culture with attendees.Vendor Bill Loran traveled from close to the Canadian border for the fair. He says that while his sales at the arena were good, events like this are more than just places to turn profits.
"It isn’t just selling. It’s also showing and letting people know we’re still here as Native People. That this is our art, or I like to think that it’s art. We do this to meet friends, old friends and meet new friends.”
The Onondaga Nation’s next event will be their bi-annual, “From the Earth Arts and Crafts Festival,” which takes place December 14th.